Reactions Continue to Dutch Motions on the Armenian Genocide

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By Haykaram Nahapetyan

Mirror-Spectator Video Correspondent

THE HAGUE – With 142 to 3 votes the Tweede Kamer or lower house of the parliament of the Netherlands adopted two motions on the Armenian Genocide on February 22. The initiative came from MP Joël Voordewind of ChristenUnie [Christian Union]. The first motion explicitly recognizes the Armenian Genocide and additionally mentions that “for the sake of completeness it also concerns the Assyrians, the Pontic Greeks and Arameans who have also been the victims of this genocide.”

The other motion asks the government to send a minister to Yerevan this year, and every lustrum (every five years, with the following time in 2020, then 2025, etc.), to attend the commemoration ceremonies of the Armenian Genocide there on April 24.

According to FAON, the Federation of Armenian Organizations in Netherlands, the three deputies that voted against these resolutions are of Turkish origin and belong to a party largely affiliated with Dutch Turks.

MP Raymond de Roon (Freedom Party) also filed a motion, stating that the government should no longer speak of “issue of the Armenian genocide” but precisely of the “Armenian genocide”. This motion did not pass because the coalition parties voted against it, as did PvdA (the Labor Party) and Denk (the Dutch-Turkish party).

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With regards to question how the new recognition is different from 2004’s resolution, Dutch-Armenian community activist Inge Drost of FAON said to the Armenian Mirror Spectator:

“The 2004 unanimous motion asked the government within the framework of its dialogue with Turkey to continuously and expressly raise the recognition of the Armenian genocide. Still today’s motion is a more explicit one, recognizing the Armenian genocide. We do appreciate it, as it is a new and also almost unanimous decision.”

Furthermore, Holland’s parliament becomes the first legislature in the world to instruct its executive branch to send a high ranking official to Yerevan to participate in commemorative activities.

Dutch-Armenian community members were present in the parliament while both motions were being discussed. Another group of Armenian activists stood in front of the parliament with “Recognize the Armenian Genocide” written in Dutch on their shirts (see the accompanying image with Inge Drost in the middle).

A group of Armenian activists standing in front of the parliament with “Recognize the Armenian Genocide” written in Dutch on their shirts (Inge Drost in the middle)

There is no dialogue currently between Holland and Turkey and no ambassadors in both capitals ever since Amsterdam refused to let the Turkish foreign minister fly into Holland to campaign on behalf of a referendum that would augment the power of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in March of 2017. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Sigrid Kaag, expressed the reservations of the executive government on the two Armenian motions (see the accompanying video with English subtitles).

Unofficial English translations of the motions from Dutch follow.

The first motion on the Armenian Genocide was adopted on February 22, 2018 by a headcount vote of 142 in favor and 3 against (Denk (Turkish party) members), and reads:

“Having heard the deliberation,
Whereas the advice of the CAVV [Advisory Committee on Issues of Public International Law] and EFTA [European Fair Trade Association] states that the government and parliament can recognize a genocide and that this is significant;
[the Chamber] states that the Chamber recognizes the Armenian genocide (for the sake of completeness it also concerns the Assyrians, the Pontic Greeks and Arameans who have also been the victims of this genocide);                                                                      And proceeds to the order of the day.”

The second motion, adopted on February 22, 2018, reads as follows:

“The room,

Having heard the deliberation,

Noting that many countries have delegated representatives at government level to attend the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan at the 100th commemoration in 2015, but that the Netherlands has not yet been represented at government level;

Noting that in 2004 the Chamber adopted the motion Rouvoet c.s. (Parliamentary document number 21501-20, no. 270), and in 2015 the motion Voordewind c.s. (Parliamentary document number 34000 V, No. 64) in which the government is called to make the Armenian genocide subject of discussion;

Considering that the Dutch government itself also has a role to serve as an example;

Invites the government at the next commemoration of the Armenian genocide in Yerevan, in April 2018, to have a Dutch representative at government level participate and consequently at every lustrum of the genocide commemoration,

And proceeds to the order of the day.”

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